“The Internet is a gift from God”: it is January 23, 2014, and the Pope announces the text for the future World Communications Day of 1 June. He writes: “The culture of encounter requires that we are willing not only to give, but also to receive from others. The media can help us in this, particularly today, when human communication networks have reached unprecedented developments. In particular, The Internet can offer more possibilities of encounter and solidarity among all, and this is a good thing, it is a gift from God ”.
Pope Francis was not the first to use this expression: the first had been a few years earlier the Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo in the last text written before ending up in prison, where he will die despite having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the meantime. But the fact that the Pope later said this same thing gave it even greater weight. Will write that same day on Wired Father Antonio Spadaro, director of Civiltà Cattolica: “It is a simple, clear and strong message. (The Pope) writes: “The digital network can be a place rich in humanity, not a network of wires, but of people”. We are the Net, the Net is made to touch us, to meet us. If she doesn’t, she isn’t herself. Internet is above all a human achievement, rather than a technological one. It is not an assembly of electrical and electronic materials and tools. Our life is already a network, even without computers, tablets and smartphones. However, these communication technologies can enhance and help to live our experience of life as a network; if therefore they were not able to push us to a greater mutual acceptance, or to make our personal humanity and our mutual understanding mature, they would not respond to their raison d’etre (the believer says to his vocation). Why, if the communication it does not make us closer to each other, if he does not make us experience closeness, then he does not respond to his human and Christian vocation ”.
It should be noted that define the Internet not as “a computer network but as a network of people” evokes the text of the Internet candidacy for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, the one that the Chinese activist will then win.